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Wednesday, May 27, 2009

JEREMIAH SWAIN PART 11: "...A COMPANY OF PRAYERLESS PEOPLE....'

This is another in a series of posts about my ancestor, Jeremiah Swain.

In this letter, Jeremiah discussed some of the disipline problems he faced
among his troops:

Letter from Jer. Sweyne

Barwick att Salmon falls Octobr 15, 89. Much Honrd Sirs

After humble Service presented to yor Honors these are to lett you understand
vt thru ye goodness of God I am in good health att present hoping these few lines
will finde yor Honors so, also vt I received yors 10th instant. & according to yor
Honors directions I have published yr signal concerning ye Maquas, further I shall
give yor Honors an account of or further proceedings since or Last to yor selves
Capt. Wiswell with ye biggest part of his part of his company scouted up westward
into ye chestnut woods 4 dayes but found none of ye Enimy nor yet where vy have
lately binn, it is Supposed vt small party of Indians may be in ye Chestnut country
beyond Groaton, also ye most part of Capt. Converses company with a party of
Indians with vm Scouted about ye woods above Cochecho & above Oyster river in
those thick woods 2 or 8 dayes because it was reported ye Indians have binn often
seen vr but ye could finde none nor any Signs of vm, ye all returning we vn being
in a Strait wch way to bend or motion tooke advice not only of or own officers but
of ye Gents of ye place as wee use to do in like case viz Majr ffrost Capt. Wincoln,
Capt. Hooke. Capt Haman Mr ffryer &c. besides ye Gents of ye Bank & it is
thought advisable to send a considerable party to Ossape & Pigwaquit, white hills
&c. ve wch wee are preparing for but are under great disadvantage by reason of ve
sickness of many ve want of a chyrurgeon & an armorer for we are exposed to
send almost 20 miles to have or guns mended, & sutable cloathes for ye men for
such a march I pray for a supply with all speed for we must borrow rhum & wt
cloathing wee can, for ye supply of this psent march wch will be about a fortnight
as we suppose, wee are informed vt ve sloope vt Majr Church sent to Pemiquid is
returned bringing newes vt ye fort is burnt & vt ye gunns lie in ye ashes ye houses
are all burnt but one & no Indians to be seen in those parts, Some think vy are
moved away to ye ffrench being strongly inticed thither, I would also informe yor
Honors vt Daniel Mathewes one of Capt Gardners men & a hired man is run away
& remembered his love to his Capt: & told him vt he would meet him att Pemiquid
with fourscore men, & another man of Capt. Gardners by name Martin Williams
is a prisoner with us for coyning of money he was a redcoat a companion of ve
aforesd Mathewes also 4 of ye troopers from hence are run away, 3 of Marblehead
viz Jno Rowland: Jno Oakes: Thos Roads; of Lin one viz Jno Engals they run away
4th instant, wee had sent newes of it before but vt I heard vy intended to return, I
pray vt there be a Speedy & Severe course taken with such psons. I hope government
will be maintained with yor Honors. I have much ado to maintain it here among a
company of prayerless people & such as are of an antiministerial Spirit, wee have
punished several of vm by laying neck & heeles & fineing &c: vy talk of rising
Sometimes but ye officers & soldiers stand firmly by me & altho some do hate ve
Baye government & threaten us with braces of bullets, yet I hope vy are Subdued.
& tho wee Speake thus of some yet wee must acknoledge vt ye principle Gents are
very candid & ingenuous & faithfull to ve Bay government, wee have also Sent you
a coppie of or first letter wch as we are informed came not to yor Honrs hands tho
it is not a perfect coppie because wee were in hast wn we writt it So desiring yor
Honrs prayers I rest yor Honors most humble Servant

Jer. Sweyne.

2 comments:

amyrebba said...

wow what a find. His letters really paint a picture of what he was going through at the time. I can just see the Indian and the burnt fort. It's a bit hard to read as I'm sure it was even harder to read his hand writing. I know that's always fun, but you can still get a good picture from his letters.

Bill West said...

Hi Amy!
Luckily, these were already transcribed in the book "Documentary
History of the State of Maine" so
half the work was already done for
me. But I've had some doozies among
the images of Revolutionary War
Pension Request files to try to decipher!

But yes, I couldn't believe my luck finding all this on Jeremiah!